I was down on the Danube Island recently and was taken with these reflections in the water:
You see them all over Vienna now, small white and blue Smart Fortwo microcars tucked away in a line of parked vehicles (only noticeable amongst their much larger brethren due to the distinctive livery) or weaving through the city’s traffic. There are some four hundred such cars in operation across the city and they form the fleet for Vienna’s latest transport option – the Car2go scheme.
Car2go is a car sharing scheme which was recently launched here in Vienna. With the aid of a Smartphone app and an electronic key, members simple locate the nearest parked car, hop in and drive off. When finished they equally simply park up and walk away. One big advantage of the scheme is you can park without restriction in the various city parking zones. A downside, voiced by some people, is that there are now additional cars taking up the limited parking spaces within the city. This ‘problem’ may dissipate if the scheme, over time, is successful at encouraging people to give-up or not replace their cars.
The cost of driving the car is reasonably set and of course you have insurance cover. It should be noted though that like any rental scheme you are liable for the first part of any costs. A friend of mine who likes sitting down and doing such things has calculated that the scheme is cheaper than taking a taxi. However, the latter is still the best option if you want a single glass of wine or beer while out as alcohol in the blood stream would nullify the insurance on the Car2go I’m told.
Such a car sharing scheme is one example of the ways in which city authorities across Europe are trying to develop the concept of a ‘smart city’, in this case addressing the dimension of ‘smart mobility’.
I know some friends who have just signed up for the scheme and I look forward to hearing their views on its pros and cons.
Wikipedia provides some further background to the scheme which is also found in parts of America, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands.
Interesting piece here in the ‘Austrian Times’ about Austrian know-how helping the UK to adopt Passive House technology, as the country seeks to reduce its CO2 emissions by making new building energy efficient and sustainable.
Austria is said to be one of the leaders when it comes to sustainable building. As the ‘Austrian Times’ highlights, ‘….at Ecobuild in London, the leading trade fair for sustainable building, Austria had the biggest presence with 500 square metres of exhibition space and 28 exhibiting companies on one group stand. A further six Austrian companies took part independently. From solar energy solutions, bio-mass heating, heating pumps, windows, the Tirol wood companies and pre-fabricated houses, the “Made in Austria” brand dominated with a strong presence.’
Thus while there is continuing concern in the country about the impact of climate change on key sectors such as Tourism (with its high value winter sports threatened by the loss of glaciers and reduced snowfall in the Alps), other important areas of the economy look to benefit from the export of Austria know-how.
For those in the UK who want to tap into more home-grown expertise and creativity then they merely need to take a trip to the wilds of South Holland, in Lincolnshire, and the eco-dynamism of Jeremy Harrall and SEArch Architects
The Vienna ‘Now Or Never’ Facebook site has been flagging up the fact that today is ‘World Water Day’ and that 950 Viennese fountains and drinking water fountains have started ‘bubbling again’.
They’ve also been promoting this link to the story on their website about the city’s water supply. For Vienna residents there is no need to buy bottled water if we want to enjoy mountain spring water, we simply have to turn on the tap in the kitchen. The water flowing into our glasses has traveled, without pumps, for 36 hours from mountain springs in the Syrian/Lower Austrian Alps and along the way has helped to generate 65 million kilowatt hours of power.
Well time for another glass of fresh spring water to celebrate the day.
Leicester’s FA Cup semi-final match is on the TV tomorrow so that answers the ‘what to do on a Sunday afternoon?’ question. However, before that there is the small matter of First Vienna U11 Girls Teams debut league match in the morning.
But to get the next eight days started on the right note I’ll be heading off to Weiner Neustadt this afternoon to join other Viola fans in cheering on Austria Wien to another three points.
It was only a few weeks ago that I was writing about the frustrations of the winter break in Austrian football. Now with the season in full swing the coming week provides a chance to fully get back into the full torment, pain and occasional highs of being a football fan. If you follow me on twitter or Facebook and don’t like football you may wish to look away until a week on Sunday:
17th March Wiener Neustadt v Austria Wien (Going to game)
18th March SG Inter AGO v First Vienna U11 Girls (Going to game – hoping the girls can get a win in their first ever competitive league match but will be happy if they enjoy the game)
18th March Chelsea v Leicester City (Down the pub to watch on TV – rare chance to watch the team live and we could be heading for the FA Cup semi-finals)
19th March First Vienna U11 Girls squad – training session (Taking H to training)
20th March Mattersburg v Austria Wien (Going to game – not sure but I think Mattersburg are still officially the tallest team in Europe)
21st March First Vienna U11 Girls squad – training session (Taking H to training)
22nd March No football! (But coffeehouse time whilst H goes to Showtime – Vienna English Theatre Youth Group)
23rd March First Vienna FC v St. Pölten (Going to game – senior team desperately need a win as they sit 2nd from bottom in the Austria Erste Liga)
24th March Austria Wien v Sturm Graz (Going to game – if results have gone our way we could be back on top of the Austrian Premier Liga)
In between games and training sessions I’ll be fitting in some time for work, a coffeehouse or two, walking in Vienna’s beautiful countryside (the woods, nature reserves, parks & public spaces fill 50% of the state/city of Vienna), as well as occasionally sleeping 🙂
With the coming weeks schedule I’m reminded of the quote:
“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” Bill Shankly
It’s a favourite quote of mine but I thought I’d add it to the end of this post just to keep all the ‘my second team is Liverpool’ fans happy – there seem to be a lot of them occupying my timelines on Twitter and Facebook 🙂
Two new polls, last weekend, both show support for the BZÖ continuing to decline. On current figures the more ‘moderate’ of Austria’s two far-Right parties will fail to make the 4% threshold needed to secure seats in the national parliament.
Here’s my updated state of the Parties table based upon an average of the last five polls I’ve seen:
|market/Der Standard 21-02-12|